What’s your best customer service story? When you were blown away by the help you received?
I received the most amazing customer service from my dentist. I was living alone and during the middle of the night one of my fillings collapsed. I was in extreme pain and could barely dial the phone.
I called my dentist and got an emergency number on the recording. When I dialed the number it was my dentist, who I could tell had just got out of bed. He immediately called in a pain killer prescription to the nearest pharmacy and called my sister so she could pick it up and bring it to me.
And that, my friends, is why I will always use that dentist. Fabulous customer service . . . because he cares!
I’ve been trolling the Internet for some awesome customer service stores. There are some pretty good ones.
• Nordstrom. A woman lost the diamond to her ring while trying on clothes. The employees not only got on their hands and knees to help find it they combed the store vacuum cleaners until they found it.
• B. Dalton Bookstore (before the store was acquired by Barnes & Noble). A customer requested a book, and although it should have been there when she arrived, it wasn’t. B. Dalton called its competitor to reserve a book for the customer and printed out directions to where she could pick it up!
• Zappos. A daughter purchased six pair of Zappos shoes for her mom who had a painful foot issue. Two fit and the when they called to return four pair, the Zappos employee understood completely. Her father had a similar condition. Afterward, the Zappos employee sent the mother a bouquet of flowers to say she was thinking of her. She also made the family Zappos VIP Members so they could receive free expedited shipping. (Guess where they're shopping for shoes from now on?)
I would argue that it's great customer service that breeds customer loyalty, not the product. (Not that you shouldn’t have a fabulous product.) People make a special bond with those who listen to them, and who go out of their way to make their experience a good one.
Great customer service teams share the same traits. They are:
• clear communicators
• knowledgeable about the product
• empowered to help
• see things through to the end
If you're trying to breed better customer service in your team, there are lots of articles and videos out there to help. And it takes practice. Ideally, customer service should become as natural as breathing.
So, back to the original question. What's your incredible customer service story? I would love to hear it. Because we also learn by inspiration.
Bring them on!
Diane Mettler has been a manager for nearly 20 years. She's also a freelance writer and editor--with hundreds of her articles published in a variety of magazines—and teaches writing at the University of Washington.